Five ways to hydrate from within
It's not enough to just drink water. Claire O'Mahony shows how you can also hydrate from inside out.
You may think that you have dry skin, when in fact, you might actually have dehydrated skin. It's easy to confuse the two, but there is a difference. Whereas dry skin is a type that produces very little oil leading to a rough and flaky appearance, dehydrated skin is a condition that may be genetic or environmental, where the skin produces oil and lacks water content so that it feels tight.
With dehydrated skin, it's all about replenishing moisture, not replacing oils, and the turgor test can be useful in determining this - pinch the skin on the back of your hand and if it doesn't ping back quickly, it can be a sign that you're moderately dehydrated. Drinking water of course helps, but there are other good ways you can hydrate from within.
1 Drink rehydration salts
Generally, rehydration salts like Dioralyte and Electrolade are necessary evils during nasty stomach bugs, but they have other uses. They're excellent in helping to get through a hangover and they're also part of make-up artists' secret arsenals when it comes to combating tight skin. The salts contain sugar and electrolytes, including sodium chloride, potassium chloride and disodium hydrogen citrate, which are necessary for the skin to function. An electrolyte imbalance can be one of the main culprits of dehydrated skin. This especially applies in warm weather or after sport where we can lose potassium and sodium electrolytes through excessive sweating.
This isn't an everyday solution by any means, and anyone with diabetes, kidney problems or who are on low potassium diets need to avoid rehydration salts. But on days when you feel your dehydrated skin could do with an extra helping hand, this works.
2 Eat your Omega 3s
Once again, the link between wellbeing and healthy fats is demonstrated with the role omega-3 fatty acids play in skin health. Omega 3s have an important role in maintaining healthy, hydrated cells and stopping inflammation. They have multiple other health benefits as well in terms of helping with asthma, depression and rheumatoid arthritis, but because our body can't produce them, it's vital that we get them into our diet somewhere. Salmon, mackerel and tuna are all rich sources, as well as some plants like flaxseed and the super-trendy chia seeds, as well as walnuts. You could also take a fish oil supplement. Regular consumption will see an improvement in the quality of your skin's condition, and less flaking and drying.
3 Sort our your silica
There's no recommended daily allowance for silica, which is why it mightn't be on our radar. But don't neglect it because it can really help your skin. One of the causes of skin ageing is our increasing inability to retain moisture, which damages collagen and elastin, resulting in wrinkled and aged skin. Silica helps various elements of the skin stay healthy and maintains moisture and it also stimulates a particular chain of amino acids called glycosaminoglycans, which are the body's natural moisturisers. Eat up your silica in the form of cucumbers and celery, making sure you eat the skin, as well as apples, peppers and oats. As an added bonus, silica is great for strengthened, healthy hair too.
4 Beware the baddies
The good news is that coffee isn't as dehydrating as we've been lead to believe, with several studies indicating that it's a mild diuretic and doesn't exactly suck the moisture out of our bodies. The same goes for caffeinated drinks, although water is clearly always the cheaper, healthier option. Refined sugars are dietary no-nos because these do dehydrate skin and cause premature aging. Alcohol is the biggest offender to avoid. It's a diuretic, which causes increased urination and it also decreases your production of anti-diuretic hormone (ADH), which causes even more dehydration. As well as that, it impairs the body's ability to absorb protein, fats and vitamins, and this will all have an effect on how your skin looks.
5 Try sea buckthorn berry oil
Sea buckthorn berry - which grows around the Irish coast, although it's native to high-altitude grounds in Russia and China - is having a moment right now, being served up in some of the world's famous restaurants like Noma in Copenhagen. Health-wise, it's long been lauded for its skin-boosting properties, being a rich source of fatty acids, which maintain moisture levels in cells. Its botanical name is hippophae, meaning 'shiny horse', in reference to its long use as a beauty assister. Sea buckthorn oil, which you can get in health food stores and which can also be taken in capsule form, is good for skin elasticity, hydration and regeneration.
Health & Living